The Dragoon Scholarship Fund
1968 was a difficult year for many. The village of An Sơn, in Việt Nam’s Quảng Tin Province1, was just one of several in which the First Squadron of the First Cavalry Regiment2 thrashed about. Much crockery was broken.
One of those tank soldiers returns to Việt Nam every year and revisits one of the villages which experienced his fear and rage in that long ago time. He gently teases the village children of An Sơn by hosting an American Chocolate Ceremony each March just as, he says, occurs in every village in the USA. An twenty-seven pound chocolate bar shatters beneath the blows of the ceremonial American Chocolate Axe wielded by the eldest rice farmer. The children clap and chant: “So-co-la, so-co-la, so-co-la…”
This organized silliness is great fun but a more lasting benefit to the children is the Dragoon Scholarship Fund the soldier established. Kindergarten through high school education in Việt Nam is not free with fees that are burdensome for a Vietnamese rice farming family. This fund started in 2011 with six children and is growing year by year and ensuring more and more children stay in school.
If a child must travel over two kilometers to school, they are issued a bicycle so they may hasten home to do their chores. Or sometimes a study desk and lamp are given so the child has a place of his/her very own at home to keep books and papers. Both of these are one-time expenses. Tutoring is provided for those with dangerously low grades.
A yearly donation of $143, which is less than $12 per month, to this fund administered by Children of Vietnam would support a child’s education from kindergarten to high school graduation. You will receive the child’s name, his or her grades, along with a photograph each year. Your gift will be used solely for educational needs minus a small administrative cost for the COV staff to manage the program. (The Annual American Chocolate Ceremony is funded by a private donor who simply loves chocolate and children!)
A one-time donation, of any amount, will be appreciated and will be used to enrich the program and cover any educational emergencies.
— Richard Brummett, Sp5, US Army 1966 – 1969
1 – Quảng Tin Province was absorbed at war’s end by its neighbor, Quảng Nam Province, and no longer exists.
2 – The contemporary US Army’s First Cavalry Regiment was organized in 1833 as the Regiment of Dragoons. Although it obtained its present nomenclature during the Civil War, these soldiers still regard themselves as Dragoons.